Raksha Bandhan Origin
Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi is a Hindu festival that celebrates brother and sister relationships and sibling love. The term Raksha Bandhan originates from Sanskrit, and translates to “bond of protection.”
in the epic, the Mahabharata, Krishna cut his finger while handling sugarcane. Krishna’s wife, Queen Rukmini, sent someone to get bandages. Draupadi, Krishna’s sister saw the incident, so she cut off part of her saree and tied it around his finger to stop the bleeding. Krishna promised to help her if she ever needed it. years later, some men try to undress Draupadi in public, by unravelling her saree. Krishna was there and saw this. Krishna uses his magic to make Draupadi’s saree never ending, so that she would not be humiliated in front of everyone.
Another popular stories of Raksha Bandhan was in the Mughal period when there was a fight between the Rajputs and the Mughals. Story has it, when the widowed Empress of Chittor, Karnavati saw a crisis in her state, she sent a Rakhi to Mughal emperor Humayun and asked for help to protect her state against the attack of Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun immediately sent his army to Chittor to protect her.
How has Rakhi changed
On the morning of the auspicious day, the members of the family usually get up early and start with preparations for the rest of the day. The ritual begins with the lighting of a diya. An entire Rakhi Thali is prepared, which includes a small statue or picture of a God, rice, tikka and Rakhi’s. The thali is different from house to house. Once the aarti is done, usually with the rakhi thali, the sister ties a rakhi on her brother’s, or cousin’ wrist. She applies a tilak and rice on his forehead. Finally, the sister then feeds the brother different types of sweets and dry fruits with her hands.
Today, we are living in a society which is at the peak of feminism and modernity. So, with changing times the traditions have changed also. Rakhi used to only be about, protection but today it has evolved into a larger and wider concept. Today, the sisters says that she will protect their brothers as well in general and particularly on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, the brothers now also get pampered with lots of gifts. Not only does this show how roles of a woman have evolved over time, but also how women empowerment has redefined relationships in Iindia and across the world. The way that women want to be protected and want to feel safety from their brothers have also changed. They no longer want to be protected physically, but want their brothers to keep their sense of individuality and freedom and help them grow as people.
In this era of technology, festivals often tend to become digitalised too. Same applies to the festival of Rakhi. With people moving across globes and countries away from their family, it is not possible for everyone to come together to celebrate Raksha Bandhan. It is very saddening how people who celebrated this festival together since they were a small kid are now miles apart dealing with their careers and life. It is difficult to prioritise work over family or vice versa, one of the perks of living in a technologically advanced society is that everyone is a click away. Your brother or sister might be oceans away but tying rakhi virtually and sending greetings and blessing from a screen away is always possible now, technology has helped a lot in the preservation of family traditions and celebrations and has also helped people to be able to balance work and careers.
Right Hand or Left Hand
In Hinduism, the left hand is considered inauspicious, it is written about in science and mythological stories. There are many reasons the left had is considered inauspicious, for example Indians typically clean with their left hand. the clockwise direction was also invented by Hindus, (right to left), and is used for all good rituals. Hindus believe that the clockwise direction is connected with the universe, while the anti-clockwise is against it, which leads to disorder. That is why we extend the right hand humbly for the rakhi tying ritual.
In ancient Tamilian literature, which is about 2,000 years old, it says tigers only eat prey that falls on their right side. In Tamilian culture, right carries more weight than left. Also, in many cultures and languages, right is seen as lucky and left is seen as blasphemy. And, the same is noticed in English culture also. The English word “sinister comes from the latin word left.
People who have studied Ayurveda Science have found that Ayurveda Science says we should use the right hand for tying rakhi because they believe Vata, Pittta and Kapha needs to be regulated. The human body is composed of three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that regulates our behaviour. Harmonious existence of these three body humours is very important for wellbeing. When a sister ties rakhi on the right hand, these three body elements get regulated which leads to overall wellness. According to the Nadi Shastra, the human body has three Nadis, Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Of the three, Pingala Nadi runs on the right side and is associated with masculinity it is more connected to the spiritual world. It shows ‘vitality, efficiency, and strength.’ If Pingala Nadi is drawn up in males, masculinity is dominant. So, this is why rakhi is tied on the right hand of the brother.
How I celebrate Rakhi
My family and I love to celebrate Rakhi. On Rakhi every year, we go over to my aunt’s house. We do pooja, then sit down. We tie Rakhi on our male cousins and brothers. I tie Rakhi on my cousin, put tikka and rice on his forehead with my fourth finger and say om yadaabadhnandaakshaayana hiranyan, shataaneekaay sumanasyamaana tanmasaabadhnaami shatashaaradaay, aayushmaanjaradrshtiryathaasam. My cousin gives me money in an envelope and I feed him praashad. We also cover our heads as we perform the ritual.